After watching a contentious election season back in 2008, I thought bloggers across the political spectrum might like to blow off some steam, so I tried to organize a friendly but potentially painful round of paintball for bloggers in the Washington, D.C., area. Here’s how I pitched it:
The response to the invitation was telling. Some conservatives bloggers expressed interest in the idea right away, but there were no takers on the left.
The most amusing feedback came from a liberal journalist who said he wasn’t interested because “I hate violence, even the sublimated kind.” That’s the psychobabble way of saying paintballers don’t just wanna have fun. They’re really expressing a desire to engage in bad behavior “by changing it into a form that is socially acceptable.”
It’s that kind of elitist ignorance of redneck culture that leads to embarrassing incidents like this:
That’s right, a Huffington Post reporter whose beat is to cover the police can’t tell the difference between earplugs like my wife wears to drown out my snoring and the rubber bullets that officers regularly use for riot control.
Filed under: Hunting & Guns and Media and News & Politics and Photography and Rednecks and Social Media
A few weeks ago, a policeman in my home town pulled me over for speeding. He graciously gave me a warning after telling me I had five points on my license and he didn’t want to ding me again.
I appreciated him giving me a break, but his contention that I had a bad driving record bothered me. I haven’t been ticketed in two decades, and the points I had on my license back then (some for speeding and the rest for causing an accident when I made a blind left turn) should have been expunged long ago.
I finally remembered to call the Virginia Department of Motor Vehicles today to explore the disconnect between what I knew to be true and what the officer in the speed trap told me. The answer: I have five “safe points” on my license, which the Old Dominion issues each year you go without any traffic infractions. You can’t accumulate any more than five safe points, so in the state of Virginia’s eyes, I’m currently a perfect driver.
Someone needs to alert small-town cops in West Virginia who like to lurk just inside their town borders to bust unsuspecting drivers right after they cross into lower speed zones. I realize that each state handles licensing differently, but it disturbs me that the officer who stopped me couldn’t tell the difference between a driver with a good record and a bad one when he searched the database.
That kind of ignorance could easily fuel an abuse of authority in the wrong circumstances. I’m actually surprised the officer didn’t ticket me once he found out I had what he thought were bad points on my license because before he searched, I told him I hadn’t been ticketed in 20 years. Had I been in his shoes, I might have pegged me as a liar.
In this case, the points worked in my favor. The officer was in a generous mood and gave me a warning because he didn’t want to make life miserable for a presumably nice guy like me. If my record had been blank, he might have decided I could afford a few points — and a fine that would help bolster the department budget.
I suppose I should be grateful and just shut my virtual mouth. But I can’t help but wonder how a policeman in a bad mood or on a power trip could use bad information as an excuse for unjust punishment. Ignorance is a dangerous thing in law enforcement.
Filed under: Government and West Virginia
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There’s a bit of role reversal happening in the heartland of America. Enlightened city dwellers have discovered all that is right with the country and want a taste of it, but the rednecks who live there want none of their trendy attention.
The rednecks are so determined to keep the interlopers out that they’re turning on their own. Many people gravitate toward rural lives in part because they don’t want nib-nose neighbors setting limits on what they do with their own property. Now the folks down the road are the busybodies.
Ironically, all this conflict revolves around what should be one of the happiest events in life — a couple’s wedding. Here are excerpts from a New York Times piece about barn weddings:
I find the hullabaloo all rather amusing. Odds are good that at least some of the people who can afford to pay thousands of dollars for a barn wedding are among the ranks of elitists who look down their noses at the rubes who call flyover country home.
My favorite part of the story is this: “Grooms and brides say the barns are part of a cultural shift away from traditional weddings. At a typical barn wedding, formal china and glassware are out, in favor of carefully mismatched plates and Mason jars for sipping cocktails. Guests nibble casual fare like grilled corn on the cob and barbecued pork. If the weather cooperates, the evening often ends with people gathering around a bonfire and toasting s’mores under the stars.”
It reminds me of a 1986 hit by Huey Lewis & the News but with a redneck twist: It’s hip to be hick. Just beware that don’t stay long enough to get country cooties all over you.
Filed under: Culture and Human Interest and Rednecks